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Glossary of Terms

Alloy Safety Toe:
Made of lighter weight metal materials such as aluminum and titanium or in combination with other components. Generally thinner than traditional steel toe.
Coated (Action) Leather Upper:
Suede leather with a PU (polyurethane) or PVC (polyvinyl chloride) topcoat. The topcoat prevents moisture from passing. Easily cleaned. Coated action leather has a uniform top surface that is easily cut and worked in shoe production. It is widely used in white athletic shoes.
Composite Safety Toe:
Made of non-metallic materials such as Kevlar, carbon fiber, plastic or fiberglas. Composite safety toe shoes are generally lighter in weight, but thicker than steel toe caps. They do not conduct heat or cold or electrical charges.
EVA (Ethylene-Vinyl Acetate) Footbed:
Lightweight cushioning that can be die cut or molded. Absorbs shock but is not as long wearing as PU.
EVA Midsole:
Can be used as sheet stock or molded as a complete unit. EVA also absorbs shock well.
External Metatarsal Guard:
Guard that is permanently attached to the top of the shoe. Can be exposed or covered. Can be attached with rivets or stitched down after being enclosed with upper leather or some other material.
Full Grain Leather Upper:
Contains the full layer of leather including the top grain and fleshy underside. Wears well and is soft and pliable.
Internal Metatarsal Guard:
Guard that is totally secured inside of the shoe.
A natural material created by tanning animal rawhides and skins. There are a number of types of leather typically used in work and uniform shoes. Leather has high tensile strength and high resistance to flex. It can be molded and will retain its new shape.
Leather Outsole:
Can be thin and flexible or thicker and stiffer for brogue type shoes. Mostly used in dress footwear. Leather is not recommended for industrial environments.
Leather/Suede Lining:
Allows for air flow and wicking of moisture.
Metal Metatarsal Guard:
Can be rigid or hinged. Generally used externally and often enclosed within a leather pocket.
Metal Puncture Plate:
Made of steel or other puncture resistant metal.
Metatarsal Guard:
Protects the top of the foot from injuries caused by heavy items falling, dropping, or rolling onto the top of the foot. Metatarsal guards can be attached to the top of the shoe or can be secured internally. External guards can be covered or exposed. Either type of guard can be made of solid metal, hinged metal, rigid plastics, rubber, PU or other shock absorbing materials.
Very thin synthetic fiber. Microfiber wicks moisture, and is very pliable. It can be treated with antibacterial chemicals and can be printed or embossed.
Microfiber Lining:
Breathable, abrasion resistant, lightweight. Microfiber is also capable of wicking moisture.
Microfiber Upper:
Very thin synthetic fiber. It wicks moisture well, very pliable. Microfiber can be treated with antibacterial chemicals, and can be printed or embossed.
Nubuck Leather Upper:
Full grain leather that has been sanded or buffed.
Nylon Mesh:
Open weave fabric made from nylon fibers that can be used in uppers or linings. It can be treated with antibacterial solutions. Nylon is lightweight and wears well.
Nylon Mesh Lining:
Abrasion resistant. Can be treated with anti-bacterial chemicals. Can be made to wick moisture.
Pigskin Upper:
Leather from pigs that is lighter in weight than cow leather. It is abrasion resistant, soft and flexible.
Polyurethane is a plastic-based material that can be made into any number of thicknesses and densities. It is widely used in shoe uppers, midsoles, and outsoles. PU can be made oil, slip and abrasion resistant. It is a good shock absorber and has a high compression set, so it holds its shape well.
PU (Polyurethane) Footbed:
It is easily molded. Can be made in an unlimited variety of hardnesses and shapes. Abrasion resistant. Absorbs shock. Wears well and holds shape.
PU Metatarsal Guard:
PU metatarsal guards are generally molded, and are usually softer but can be made more rigid. They offer great shock absorption, and retain their shape.
PU Midsole:
Can be used as sheet stock or molded as a complete unit. PU is a great shock absorber that wears well.
PU Outsole:
Molds well into complete units or blockers. Can be made oil, abrasion and slip resistant, and it works well in industrial situations.
Puncture Plate:
Protects the bottom of the foot from penetration of the sole by sharp objects.
Polyvinyl chloride is a synthetic plastic polymer. It can be made into thin layers for use in uppers or thicker for use in outsoles. PVC can be molded into a wide variety of shapes, sizes and colors.
An elastic polymer substance made from natural latex from plants or synthetically. In footwear is used primarily as padding, die cut midsoles forwelt construction or complete outsoles. Rubber can be easily molded, can be made in a variety of colors. Rubber offers high abrasion resistance, and can be made to be oil and slip resistant.
Rubber Footbed:
Generally used as partial pads in combination with other cushioning materials due to it being heavier than PU or EVA. Rubber absorbs shock, and holds its shape and is long wearing.
Rubber Metatarsal Guard:
Rubber metatarsal guards are generally molded, have good shock absorption, and retain their shape.
Rubber Midsole:
Mostly used as sheet stock in welted construction. It absorbs shock, wears well, and performs well in industrial situations. Rubber is usually molded as a midsole whan it is made together with the outsole in a complete unit.
Rubber Outsole:
Can be molded into complete units or blockers. Rubber is generally higher in abrasion and oil resistance, and performs well in industrial environments.
Steel Safety Toe:
Most common type of safety toe. Steel has a long history of performance in the industrial market.
Suede (Split Leather) Upper:
The fleshy underside of leather that has been split from the top grain skin layer. It is less durable than full grain leather because it does not have the top skin. Suede is lightweight, soft and flexible.
Fabric with loops that can absorb large quantities of water. It is soft to the touch, and is used in some linings.
Terry Lining:
Soft fabric. Absorbs moisture.
Thermoplastic urethane is an elastomer material. It is oil, abrasion, chemical and crack resistant. It can also be made slip resistant. TPU molds extremely well and performs well in industrial environments.
TPU (Tthermoplastic Urethane) Outsole:
Can be molded with very fine detail. TPU is oil, abrasion, chemical and crack resistant. It can also be slip resistant, and wears well in industrial environments.